Squirmy Wormy Book Giveaway and Interview

I was talking with a parent last month about her son who has Autism. She was asking why he is always lying down and if that was a sensory issue.

YES! I was screaming – YES! It is a sign he is low, that his body needs some input to help engage.

She responded with the realization that instead of constantly telling her son to ‘sit up’ she could use that ‘clue’ about how his body was feeling to help him recognize what was going on, and find solutions to help him regulate his own body. And you all know that isn’t easy when you have a child with Autism that doesn’t communicate as well or as much as you, or they, would like.

And with that, the solution hit me like lightening: “You need to get your son the book Squirmy Wormy by Lynda Farrington Wilson to help teach him to regulate his own body!” I announced with a level of enthusiasm that is hard to get across in mere words.

You see, I had just read it, and when this mom was asking me questions it was like a dream come true to know of the perfect book to suggest to her to help her son.

Squirmy Wormy is the first title by Lynda Farrington Wilson, a mom and illustrator who put her talents and experience to work on a children’s book that shows us what it is like to be inside the head and unregulated body of a child with Autism and Sensory Processing D
 isorder. And you all know that I can’t resist talking with fellow SPD/ASD moms, so I jumped at the chance to do an interview with Lynda – and she jumped at the chance to give away a copy of her book. If only everything in life worked out so well, huh? : )

So, with that, please welcome Lynda Farrington Wilson to HLW3B. Thanks for joining us Lynda!

Can you take a minute to share with us your journey through SPD and Autism with your son?

I’m assuming that our family’s journey is a very typical one. Early on, you know something is not quite “right” with your child and you sort of look at the situation squinting with one eye open, holding your breath and thinking that maybe tomorrow he will look me in the eye, or point to an airplane overhead, or say “Mommy”. Tyler was diagnosed at 2 ½ years old with PDD-NOS, and since then with SPD and high-functioning autism. Around age 5, we really dove into the sensory processing area and wow, the lights came on for all of us. Rather than bucketing every behavior, issue and challenge into the Autism-bucket, which provided us with no explanations, nor interventions, for the first time we could evaluate, understand and provide interventions for his SPD. The more his sensory needs were addressed, the more his “autism behaviors” subsided. He became more present, more connected to the world, and more comfortable in his own skin.

Teaching our kids to self-regulate, to recognize what they need and find it in a safe and socially acceptable manner, is a challenge for all of us special needs parents every day. What made you decide to put that part of your journey into a book?

I am very passionate about sharing our experience with SPD to families with children with autism. In a traditional therapy path for autism, many times addressing sensory needs or even getting an SPD diagnosis just doesn’t happen because the quirky behaviors, meltdowns, etc. are just considered part of the autism by many professionals. Once I saw the effects a sound sensory diet had on Tyler, as I continued to research “why he does some of the silly things he does”, I saw that the socially unacceptable behaviors could be replaced with socially acceptable behaviors, if you are tackling the same sensory need.

I originally wrote Squirmy Wormy as a social story for Tyler, to help me to understand what his needs at any particular moment were in an effort to not only understand him, but to guide him on a path to self-regulation. He is a very visual little guy, so very detailed illustrations were important to me, as well as to provide a resource for our non-verbal children who could simply point to a picture. I also found that Squirmy Wormy provides a great resource for teachers and therapists who may not be familiar with SPD. And interestingly, I’ve heard from many families who have used the book to educate siblings as to why their brothers or sisters “do some of the silly things they do”.

My one defining moment with Squirmy Wormy was when Temple Grandin, Ph.D. reviewed and endorsed it, which gives real recognition to the SPD component in individuals with autism.

My son Gabriel loves being the ‘star’ in a book – how is your son handling it? Is he oblivious or practicing his ‘autograph’ like Gabe?

I refer to Squirmy Wormy as “our special book” to Tyler. To him, I think it is just another social story written for him by Mom, and he probably thinks every kid has their picture on the back of a book… and that is one of the many things I just love about him.

Where is the best place to find your book? Is there anything else you’ve got coming up that you’d like to share with us? We love being the first to know!

You can get a peek into the book pages on my website at www.lyndafarringtonwilson.com and click on the link to purchase through the publisher, Sensory World (http://www.sensoryworld.com/), an imprint of Future Horizons.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Lynda and taking the time to share Squirmy Wormy! It has truly been a pleasure to meet another sensational mom bringing awareness to Sensory Processing Disorder.

Contest details to follow.

Now for the free part!

Lynda is giving away a copy of Squirmy Wormy to one lucky HLW3B reader.

Here is how you can win:

1. You will need to follow this blog (publicly through Google located on the top of the right column) and

2. Post a comment -- how can your child benefit from learning to self-regulate? :)

OK, once you have joined and commented, you are officially entered.

The contest will run from Sunday 4/18/10 to Friday 4/23/10 and will end at 7pm PST. The winner will be selected by random drawing, and posted here the next day, 4/24/10. You need to check back to win -- if you do not respond, a new winner will be drawn.

Good luck!


claudine said...

If Dylan was able to self regulate it would make an incredible impact on his life. Right now I am the person who interprets his body language and behaviors for him. If I am not there, no one else does this for him. I am trying to teach him how to regulate himself, but am at a loss as to how to proceed. This book would make a world of difference in Dylan's school life. Some of Dylan's teacher's just don't understand that an 8year old is not laying on the ground to be willful or disruptive. Their "I'm not going to play his game" attitude does not help him get what he needs at that moment. Dylan is a wonderful boy who has Asperger's and SPD. He is a very literal child who will always believe what is in print before what his mommy tells him. Having self regulation explained to him in a book that he can share with his teachers is nothing less that a thing of beauty.

Heather B said...

My son is not diagnosed with Autism but does have SPD and may also have Aspergers. His sensory needs fluctuate so much. He is just starting to work on meeting his needs himself. For now I give verbal reminders and he has some social stories at school to help him out as well. He does a lot of chewing, hiding in small spaces, needing deep pressure, needing activity - but just the right amount or we lose the regulation he gained -, spinning, and multiple other things that change on an irregular basis. His OT is often left scratching her head about how to help him and she is among the leaders in the sensory field! If I could help him to figure out what he needs then we could all help him so much more. I'm fortunate in that he's incredibly verbal so we can often figure things out together but not before a pretty extreme emotional meltdown. I'm excited to read the book - much like your book Hartley - I believe it will only help others better understand my son for who he is and be able to better help him live in his skin.

Stacey,momof 2 said...

This book would help me convince my son's IA that not all of his behaviors are defiant-- that in fact most are sensory related!

Anonymous said...

I think I have overlooked the SPD in both of my sons. They both have ASD and that has been my primary focus, but now as meltdowns and all the like continue, I need to find better ways of helping them cope and I need more information to do this! Thanks to Hartley and the author for bringing more attention to this subject!

Julie said...

I just read an excerpt from this book about wanting to run really fast, and that is sooooo my son. He's starting Kindergarten this fall, and I'm worried about how he'll make it through the day w/out as much time to get his sensory input. Helping him learn to recognize his needs and regulate his body would be huge for him as he enters the big social world of elementary school. I've been looking for books to help him understand why other kids aren't bothered by some of the things he is. I've read him Hartley's book and it has given him some of the words he needs, but we need more, especially on regulating his proprioceptive issues.

Sasha said...

Thanks for the book recommendation and giveaway! I love all the books I'm finding about SPD.

florence said...

My son is 5 years old, has ADHD and ALOT of SENSORY Issues, we have done a tremendous amount of emotional coaching to give him words for his feelings etc..(anger/aggression has improved tremendously)..but, he still is at a loss for words when his sensory seeking bahaviors are occuring, I hope this book might show him in pictures, what he doesn't yet have the words for.then we may be able to comunicate his needs so I can better help him regulate his body!.

3 boys club said...

I can't wait to read this book. I'm a mom of a 7 year old boy with SPD and a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant that works with the pediatric special needs population. I would love to use this book to help the kids and families that I work with.

emmabenefiel said...

This blog couldn't hit closer to home. self regulation is a major issue with us and i still struggle to help him regulate. Just recently i have made the choice to treat his issue via SPD, I believe that is going to help him so much. Can't wait to see the whole book.